Adding (and Being of) Value

Today was not an easy day for me. When I woke up I didn't feel too great. I ended up asking my daughter's permission to sleep an extra hour while she watched cartoons (she was happy with that) so we stayed in bed a bit longer than usual.

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Get Up and Go

Feeling less tired at least, I got out of bed and made us breakfast, got us ready for the day. I got some work done on my laptop, then moved onto following up on a client who I do ad-hoc work for and haven't heard much from in a while - why not? This client posts their entire lives on Facebook and uses that as their main means of communicating with almost everyone. I have nothing against that, it's their personal choice - however after not using Facebook for ages and finding it utterly depressing when I did, I decided to close my Facebook account for good a few months ago. I don't regret my decision at all and don't miss it either. I don't know how this particular person may have viewed my closing down of my account though.

Work Stuff

I do simple website design for entrepreneurs, small startups and the like - it's nothing fancy but it provides a reasonably priced way for small businesses to have an online presence that looks professional and that they can use to sell products through e-commerce. I don't do special coding stuff and I don't purport to be a big shot in this field at all, however I do provide good service and a good option for people who cannot afford these large scale companies who have massive overheads. I take pride in what I do and for me it's far more about helping people than making huge profits because I have been in that position where I wanted a website but couldn't afford even a discounted rate from a friend who ran a web design company so I taught myself and did it myself at a fraction of the cost.

The clients that I have receive a lot of "added value" services from me that I give them for free or at very reduced rates. Before any maintenance work is done, I provide them with a proposal on what should be done according to priority and what can either be ignored or left for later depending on what they would like. Whenever I complete any work for them, they also get a comprehensive report on what I completed and why it's important to the health and wellbeing of their website. These things take time which I don't bill for because I believe in adding and being of value to people and small businesses, especially those that I like and who's ethics, morals and values are aligned with mine.

This morning I found out that my account access to the website that I built for this person has been revoked. I don't have a problem with that because they have every right to manage the access to the backend of their website. We don't have an ongoing or recurring contractual agreement for monthly maintenance on the site and everything I completed for them was on an ad-hoc "pay per project" basis as this is what they wanted originally, BUT it would have been nice to have been informed.

Did I do something wrong?

The last two weeks I have read many posts on what's important to different people and what people value. It's always insightful to read how varied the responses are and interesting to learn a lot about myself by answering questions like this.

The strange thing is that today when this happened I found myself undervaluing the work I do based on the actions of this client. I assumed that it was because my service or product must have been inferior that this happened, even though I have received no communication from them to that effect - they seemed quite satisfied with the work I provided when we closed off our last invoice.

It brought me to a strange kind of cross-roads of looking back and seeing how often I undervalued myself (as a person and as a "worker") in situations where I did my best. Sometimes it was great, sometimes it wasn't, but there are very few instances where I look back and can say that I didn't put in effort.

Introspection and looking for the lesson

Perhaps what is needed is a perception shift, perhaps what is needed is - something else, I'm not quite sure yet and I think I'm still muddling through it, but today I recognized that what I provide is valuable whether it is in my work capacity or personal capacity. Whether clients choose to acknowledge that is not for me to decide and I need to accept it and be at peace with it if they don't because I know that the effort is applied and maintained.

Introspection is a double edged sword, it can be painful at times, but only through continual use of it can we choose to better ourselves - there's always a lesson and a way to implement change for the better.

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So that's what I'm doing today: I'm valuing myself for what I bring to the table. It's not something I do often, but today I went through the evaluation process and sure: there are things that I can improve on for future clients and I've tucked the lessons into my notebook, but I also know that what I completed was done to the best of my ability and I'm content with that.

Success is liking who you are, what you do and how you do it

Maya Angelou

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Calvin & Hobbes - Bill Watterson

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